I always thought about the fact that given that "low-level" labor-type jobs put the people working them in more physical risk, so they ought to be paid more in case they were to become injured a) so that they could pay for any immediate medical bills accrued and
From my experience, middle management still has far more responsibilities, intellectual strain and, of course, stress and stress-related illnesses than a low-level worker. It's easy to fall into thinking that physical work is harder than intellectual or organizational, but it isn't. As for the high-level managers, I guess their work should be even harder, but they get away with a lot thanks to the fact that they have less direct supervisors.
I'm talking about companies here, of course. It's nothing to justify 1:400 salary ratio, and then even larger companies here would probably be considered small potato compared to those in USA, and in smaller companies there's a lot less detachment. I understand that USA has the system with sort of an oversaturation with management and various advisers, that it's very cumbersome and unnecessarily burdened with management layers a system.
b) they woudlnt' feel the need to rush the healing process in order to get back to work because they would ideally have something of a financial cushion to rest on for a while.
The real solution is, of course, better medical security. Idea of socially conscious state is that average man has the cushion to fall back to when something unpredictable and disastrous happens. Capitalist line of thought goes along the lines that if something happens to you to fall on hard times, it is probably your fault and you should have been working harder to prevent that, and on the other hand, an army of average Joes seems to think "ah, that can never happen to me", neither of which is true, and there should always be state institutions to back you up (and even if there are some rednecks out there abusing the system and living on social security all their lives, frankly, that's far less of a problem than people think). Social security = less stressed nation = healthier + less violent nation
I recall hearing that in some areas/periods of time in the Soviet Union, this actually was in place- management would be paid less than the people doing the actual manual labor. Not that I think that that era in general is something we should strive to recreate, but that's one aspect that seemed pretty laudable, I guess.
Eeeh... communist systems had a rather antagonistic relationship with intellectual elite. It's nominally due to their emphasis on manual laborer, but the real reason is suppressing the freedom of though, and the fact that most of leaders came from poor educational background, where it's thought that all management ever does is sit around and give orders, which in any well organized system is far from true.